On the way up again

It’s a funny thing to say, but I’m the happiest I’ve been at work for a long time. It’s still very much a second-rate operation, but for myself, I’m busy, engaged, and pivotal. I always reckon that I’m at my very best under the pump, and in the last couple of weeks, I’ve had high-profile jobs sent my way one after the other until I was managing 2-3-4 different jobs at once. It’s a challenge and you feel it, and for me, it’s an invigorating feeling. You either come to the party or you go home. I’m always going to come to the party.

It doesn’t change things necessarily for me, but I now have options. I don’t recall if I reported it but I knocked back one of the external roles proposed to me because it was a 2-3 month contract only. The other role is still on the simmer, but it’s proving very difficult to get together to discuss the details of it and to understand if it’s something I would want. The same criteria apply: the money will be substantially more than I’m currently earning (between 2-3 times more), but it’s no good if it’s only for a few months and with no guarantee of anything beyond that. I’m increasingly pessimistic about this option, though I’m assured it’s still on the go.

Fortunately, there has been movement in my current job. I’ve been pretty blunt with them. They know I think the salary is a joke, if not plain disrespectful, and that I’m frustrated by my ability to actually get anything done. They’re now promising more money from June, and dangling the prospect of a better job. Right now they’re just vague promises, and even so the money will still be much less than I can get on the open market – but it’s something.

One of my frustrations had been that the sympathetic clucking was not matched with action. To some degree that changed a couple of weeks back, almost by accident.

There had been a succession of critical and very damaging IT issues through February and March and into April. Taken as a whole they cost money, required huge amounts od resources to rectify, and caused substantial brand damage. It reached the point when something had to be done, which is when my manager’s manager asked me to put together a report detailing the full extent of the issues, within a week.

Long story short I wrote a report detailing 31 separate issues with a description of the problem, the cause of it, the re-work required, the resolution, and ultimately the cost, in both man-hours and dollars. I also attributed a criticality score to each issue.

That was presented in a potentially fraught meeting to the executive suite. An hour or so later my manager’s manager returned and came straight. “Went down a treat, champ,” he said, which is how he talks. Often times I’m ‘big fella’. He’s a smart operator and good bloke. He told me how the head of IT said he had worked there for 9 years and that mine was the best report he’d received in all that time. I thought that was a little over the top – there are gaps – but I was happy to take the kudos. More than anything it made my manager’s manager look good, and that’s important. (I’ve since learned that my report is doing the rounds right up to the CEO, and is now looked upon as a template for how to report these things. If nothing else I’m getting good exposure).

The upshot of that, and a few other things, is that he has got involved in the discussions about my future and has made it clear that he doesn’t want me going. I think I’m seen as very capable and reliable, the sort of competent person who will just get it done, and right the first time. I’ve got a good reputation there, but I know I can do a lot more.

I guess they know it too now because I’ve been lured with vague promises of working in the office of the CEO. This is a shadowy, semi-elite area reporting directly to the CEO. It get’s all the big transformation jobs and sets a lot of strategy and policy for the business. Because you work for the CEO there are green lights all the way. It’s one of my colleagues said out of the blue that’s where I should be working, and then separately I’m told of a project they want me to work on with them in a month or two.

It’s encouraging, but it’s not a fait accompli. If in the meantime I get a solid and worthwhile offer from this other mob – which would look good on my CV besides – then I’d be silly not to take it. There’s a temptation to stay on though.

I don’t know if you can understand. I need all the money I can get and a doubling of my salary would solve all sorts of problems, and probably set me on the road to a decent career again. Still, I’m curious to see what I can achieve where I am. I started at the bottom. I had everything and lost and for years was out in the cold, and when I got my chance again it was on the bottom step.

I’ve now progressed a little beyond that, and obviously will progress further if their promises mean anything. One of my motivating factors getting back into it was to prove I still had it – to me, and to the world. I could take this external job and I would merit it, but only on the strength of my previous experience and my CV. That counts for nothing where I am. Most of them have no idea of what I’ve done. Everything I achieve is purely based on performance and I’m curious and excited to see how far that may take me.

I’ve survived, the next step is to thrive. I’m very motivated by the challenge, and the thought of climbing my way back towards the top again. I want to show what I can do. I want to apply what I have. I want to rise on the back of my determination and pure ability. For years I had no value in the marketplace and I want to show them how wrong they were. I want to conquer.

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